An adult education program is not only designed to help you learn the academic skills you need, but is also designed to help you learn effective study and test-taking skills that you’ll need as well. Tests are, for better or worse, a part of life and it is a virtual guarantee that you will have to take tests at various points in your future. These might include the General Educational Development (GED) Exam, the SAT Reasoning Test, the American College Test (ACT), and/or other similar exams. You’ll want to prepare as well as you can for these tests. In most cases, there are three types of exams that you will be required to take.
- Entrance examination. An entrance examination is given by schools prior to admission to determine if you’re a good candidate for the program.
- Class-specific exam. Also known as a teacher-made exam or a non-standardized exam, this is a test that you’ll have to take to earn a grade and/or pass a class.
- Credential exam. This is the kind of test you’ll take after you have completed a program of education or training. Passing this exam will be proof that you have mastered the material, and are qualified to be licensed, approved, certified, etc.
While it’s not feasible to describe every test you might possibly face sometime in your future, there are a few exams that are so prevalent that anyone who aspires to higher education will likely have to deal with at least one of them. Let’s look at them:
The SAT Reasoning Test is an entrance examination that you may be required to take if you want to pursue a college degree after you complete an adult education program. The SAT is administered by a non-profit organization known as the College Board it’s a standardized exam that colleges and universities use to determine if you have the basic skills that you need to get through a college program. The SAT Reasoning Test assesses three main types of skills, which include your critical reading skills, your math skills, and your writing skills.
The critical reading section of the exam, which includes 48 multiple-choice analysis questions and 19 multiple-choice vocabulary questions, will test your ability to read and understand written information and your ability to determine if a word makes sense in a particular sentence or not. The math section of the exam, which includes 44 multiple-choice problems and 10 fill-in-the-blank problems, will test your ability to solve statistics, probability, geometry, arithmetic, and algebra problems. The writing section of the exam, which includes 49 multiple-choice questions and an essay question, will test your ability to write effectively, your ability to identify writing mistakes, and your ability to correct writing mistakes. The 49 multiple-choice questions in the writing section include 25 questions that will test your ability to correct sentences, 18 questions that will test your ability to identify mistakes (you won’t have to correct these sentences, but you will have to find the mistake in each one), and 6 questions that will test your ability to identify problems with a paragraph and reorganize the paragraph to fix those problems.
The SAT Reasoning Test is intended to test your basic skills, but it is not an easy exam. Most of the people that take the exam will only get about half of the questions right, and it’s very rare that an individual will actually get a perfect score. The exam can be a little overwhelming, but you may find it comforting to know that the exam is scaled. In fact, you will be assigned a score of somewhere between 200 and 800 for each of the major skills that the exam assesses, and these scores are what a college or university will use when they are trying to decide if they should allow you to enter the school or not (the multiple-choice questions and the essay question for the writing section will be assigned two separate scores, but most schools only look at the combined score). The specific score that you will need to get into a school can vary greatly from program to program, with higher scores needed for admission to more selective colleges and universities .
The American College Test (ACT) is another college entrance examination; it’s very similar to the SAT. The ACT assesses five main types of skills: English language, reading, math, science, and writing.
The English language section of the exam, which includes 75 multiple-choice questions, will test your ability to identify mistakes in a paragraph or group of paragraphs. The reading section of the exam, which includes 40 multiple-choice questions, will test your ability to read and understand written information. The math section of the exam, which includes 60 multiple-choice questions, will test your ability to solve trigonometry, statistics, probability, plane geometry, coordinate geometry, arithmetic, and algebra problems. The science section of the exam, which includes 40 multiple-choice questions, will test your ability to understand scientific information. The questions in the science section of the exam will not require you to have any scientific knowledge, but they will require you to read a scientific diagram or essay and understand it. The writing section of the exam, which includes a single essay question, will test your ability to write. This section of the exam, however, is only required by certain schools, and you do not have to write an essay if you’re not applying to a school that requires it.
The ACT test, just like the SAT, is not easy, but the scoring is different. You will be assigned a score of somewhere between 1 and 36 for each of the four mandatory sections of the exam, a composite score of 1 to 36, and a score of 2–12 for the writing section of the exam if you take it (your writing score will also count as part of your English score). Schools will use your score to determine your eligibility for admissions and scholarships, just as with the SAT.
The General Educational Development (GED) Test is an examination given for the purposes of helping people who never graduated from high school. Passing the GED is seen as the equivalent of getting a high school diploma, and colleges and employers generally treat the GED just like a diploma. The GED is actually made up of several different tests, and it is administered by a national association of colleges and universities known as the American Council on Education (ACE). The GED is a set of standardized exams that a state education board can use to determine if your skills and knowledge are equivalent to the skills and knowledge of a high school graduate. Each of these tests assesses one of five different skills, which include reading, math, science, social studies, and writing.
The reading test, which includes 40 multiple-choice questions, will test your ability to read and understand written information such as articles, excerpts from novels, poems, plays, and other similar works. The math test, which includes 40 multiple-choice questions and 10 fill-in-the-blank questions, will test your ability to solve statistics, probability, measurement, geometry, data analysis, algebra, and arithmetic problems. The science test, which includes 45 multiple-choice questions, will test your ability to understand and apply scientific concepts related to space science, physical science, life science, and earth science. Most of the questions on the science test will ask you to read a scientific diagram or essay and use the concepts from that diagram or essay to answer the question, but there may be some questions that require you to have some basic scientific knowledge. The social studies test, which includes 50 multiple-choice questions, will test your ability to understand facts and concepts related to world history, U.S history (or Canadian history if you take the test in Canada), government, geography, economics, and civics. The questions on the social studies test will ask you to examine a chart, a political cartoon, or an excerpt from a map or important document and use the information from that visual aid or document to answer the question. The writing skills test, which includes 50 multiple-choice questions and an essay question, will test your ability to write, your ability to identify writing mistakes, and your ability to correct writing mistakes.